6 4 mins 11 yrs

Camelot must come before all else – even you.

A change in pace from the initial two parter as we go from high action to emotional suspense and take a break from Morgana’s plans for domination. Arthur faces not only the spirit of his father but his disappointment in his abilities as ruler of Camelot which Uther wants to reclaim; Seems there’s too many leaders and not enough chiefs in the Pendragon family.

When Arthur and Merlin hear an old women screaming about to be burned at the stake, Arthur gallantly saves her, the old lady is dying but as gratitude for his kindness she gifts him with an enchanted horn that can summon dead spirits. Her kindness sets off a chain of events, Arthur still grieving his father’s loss decides this is his chance to see his father again and goes to the Stones of Nemeton (aka Stone Henge) and uses it to pass to the spirit world coming face to face with his father and former King – Uther Pendragon

If you thought Uther was cruel alive then Anthony Head‘s brilliantly callous and merciless portrayal of the former King is chilling in comparison; Dissapointed that his son has chosen to go against his teachings by knighting ‘commoners’ and marrying a servant girl Uther warns his son that he must correct his mistakes believing Arthur to be a weak ruler. Of course we the audience know Arthur to be a more fair and compassionate king. But Uther wants the kingdom to be led on fear not trust. Arthur accidentally sets his fathers spirit free who sets about making his feelings clear by haunting the castle and harming those he wants out of Camelot.

This episode could very easily have slipped into a ghostly caricature, but the performances by Anthony Head, Bradley James and Colin Morgan were levelled just right to keep this an emotional haunting tale rather than a silly ghost chase. The cinematography in this episode sets the scene wonderfully and should be applauded for keeping the atmosphere alive through the episode.

This episode is near enough a two hander between Arthur and Merlin, Gwen features very little and poor Angel Coulby gets very few lines to say yet again. Plaudits though to the writers for giving us another Tom Hopper shirtless scene, shallow as it is, keep it up. However as much as the audience enjoys the banter between Arthur and Merlin I feel this series so far has relied too heavily on their characters, it would be nice to see Arthur and Merlin interact with other characters. Arthur and Gwen especially; Gaius (Richard Wilson) is also starting to look a little redundant now Merlin’s powers are growing.

No movement on the story arc more of a filler/thriller episode of the week but non the less in quality. Merlin standing up to Uther revealing his sorcery a definite highlight. The conviction when he said “I was born with it” with such emotion was powerfully but beautifully played by Colin Morgan.

So far the series is shaping up well, still hoping for more ensemble interactions to come but an enjoyable 45 minutes. Bring on next weeks episode.


6 thoughts on “‘Merlin’ 5.3: ‘The Death Song Of Uther Pendragon’ review

  1. That confrontation should have been between Uther and Gwen as he tried to execute her twice. The boys always get their agency back but no not poor Gwen. She was abused, nearly burnt and she didn’t get her agency back. It’s all about the boys. It’ so frustrating being an Angel Coulby fan. And now we know Arthur and Gwen don’t eat, sleep together. They live in separate castles. lol

    1. Does seem to be Angel Coulby gets underused a lot. Strange really, considering of the younger cast she has more acting experience.

      1. That’s sure that I’d love to watch more of Gwen than of Arthur. I can’t stand his mono-expressive face. However, the show isn’t about Gwen. It is about Merlin firstly. But I’d love to see more Merlin/Gwen scenes. We lack of them. I loved their friendship if the other series. I think Colin & Angel have great chemistry, more compelling that the chemistry between Angel and Bradley. Maybe we’ll see more Merlin/Gwen episodes in the next episodes.

    2. The show is called Merlin, not Gwen and not Arthur & Gwen. It is expected that it will focus on him and his Destiny with Arthur. The show knows who their money makers are and it doesn’t include Gwen. She has fancy duds and gets to condemn people to death; that’s far more importance than she used to have. As for seperate quarters, that’s very historically accurate, kings and queens never shared the same chambers. Let’s face it, there simply isn’t any chemistry between Arthur & Gwen; when Arthur gave her that peck on the cheek before leaving to angst over his father’s tomb, it was like a little boy saying goodnight to his mum. They really have a passionless relationship that is boring and dull to watch, nothing like the comedic timing and rapport of Arthur & Merlin. I’m glad that Merlin seems so strong and confident these days. He’s grown up. The Gwen + Arthur fans need to stop their whinging and just watch or don’t watch. If this show stays true to pattern, there will no doubt be a heavy handed Arthur-Gwen show soon (I’ll be in the toilet) but you’re just going to have to accept that she is a periphial character.

  2. Colin Morgan is powerful and beautiful in the whole show, especially in this scene of Merlin confronting Uther. He really shines as Merlin the worcerer hidding his magic and as the powerful Merlin exposing his powers. When I heard him say “I’m much more than that” and “I was born with it”, he gave me chills. He’s fantastic!

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